Q:

How does gas chromatography work?

A:

Quick Answer

Gas chromatography works by taking a mixture of gases and moving it through liquid, solid or gas states in order to separate the gases. This process separates the mixture into its different components, which are then processed through a device such as a mass spectrometer, which describes them.

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Full Answer

Gas chromatography is best viewed as a type of race. A machine filled with a gas is used to help the mixture move throughout it. The mixture is injected into the machine with a syringe. The point of injection is the starting line. As the mixture moves through the tube, the different components of the mixture start to separate. It is similar to racers of different speeds running on a track. The faster component reaches the end of the machine, and it is identified. The other components follow relative to their speed in the machine.

Gas chromatography is a process that is used to analyze a variety of substances. Forensic scientists use it to find out what makes up samples taken from a crime scene. Scientists also use it to note the different types and concentrations of pollutants in the water and the air. It is even used to study what mixtures create things, such as different types of food and cologne.

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